Silk Road Ministries – January 2021 Update

Billy & Jeanne Campbell

Request for Urgent Prayer

Military Coup in Myanmar.

· We request prayer for the developing situation in Myanmar where the Military has seized power and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. Armed troops are patrolling the streets and a night-time curfew is in force, with a one-year state of emergency declared.

· The military alleges that the landslide election win in November by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), was marred by fraud!

· In a letter written in preparation for her impending detention, she said that the military’s actions would put the country back under a dictatorship, which it previously experienced for 49 years. Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011, when a new Government began ushering in a return to civilian rule.

· On the streets of the main city, Yangon, people are saying that they fear their hard-fought battle for democracy had been lost. No major violence has been reported, but soldiers have blocked roads in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw and the main city and former capital, Yangon.

· Army generals raided Aung San Suu Kyi’s office and removed computers and various documents. Charges of import-export fraud have been made and she has been further detained until 15th February 2021.

· The military takeover follows weeks of tension between the armed forces and the Government following the parliamentary elections held in November, when the army-backed opposition party was soundly defeated.

· We have been in contact with Ronald, CTMA Principal, and with Paul, MVCC principal; they are safe, but the internet and domestic phone services were disrupted. Banks reported that they had been forced to close temporarily. Yangon residents rushed to the markets to stock up on supplies, and others lined up at ATMs.

· Please pray for the staff of both Bible Colleges, the Calvary Boarding Center, the Beulah Agape Orphanage, the students in various home locations, and the church planters, that they will all be kept safe in the pandemic and the daily disruptions and uncertainties following the military coup.

· The situation is serious, and we must commit it to Almighty God to work out His purposes. What the future holds is uncertain, but we know that God holds the future.

‘God holds the key of all unknown, And I am glad; If other hands should hold the key, or if He trusted it to me, I might be sad, I might be sad.’ John Parker.

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor.4:8-9

New Year 2021 News Update

At the start of this New Year, we recall King George VI’s Christmas speech in 1939, when he quoted from Minnie Louise Haskins poem, THE GATE OF THE YEAR …

‘God Knows’  

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Minnie Louise Haskins poem, THE GATE OF THE YEAR

And we too journey on, our hand in His, knowing that we are safe in the Lord’s tender keeping!

The Covid-19 pandemic has kept both Bible Colleges, CTMA and MVCC, in Yangon, as well as the Calvary Boarding Center (CBC) in Kanpetlet, Southern Chin State, firmly closed. They have not been able to hold regular classes for the 2020-2021 academic year, and there is still no specific date when they will be able to reopen classes. There are approximately 135,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Myanmar, with almost 3,000 deaths. The Bible Colleges and CBC now plan to open for the new academic year in June, if all is well.  

The teachers, students, missionaries, evangelists and their families have been kept safe during the pandemic. Church planters, like Stephen, Samuel, Henry, John, and others who have established small house churches, have not been able to hold regular services since the last week of March 2020. However, they continue to visit church members: encouraging them, praying with them, and helping with their many needs, whenever possible. They are seeing church growth, as individuals are coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, and despite the difficulties God is building His church, just as He promised! To Him be all the glory. Please pray for Ronald (CTMA) as he prepares to visit the Chin State in March, to contact present students and recruit new ones for the new academic year commencing in June. Principal Paul (MVCC) will also be concerned about recruitment and will be making appropriate plans.    

Please pray for the ongoing situation with the Rohingya refugees, located on the Bangladesh / Myanmar border, at Cox’s Bazar. Recently more than a thousand refugees were moved to the remote Island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal, to add to an initial group of a thousand and more who were relocated there in December. The United Nations has said that Bhasan Char is a flood-prone island and is not very suitable to house the proposed 100,000  Rohingya refugees from Cox’s Bazar.    

The work at Hope House, Cambodia, is going well but occasional challenges and changes do occur! Channy and his family recently moved to live in Phnom Penh and he is now working at his brother’s school. Pray that Channy and his family will continue to follow the Lord and stay in close fellowship. We will miss them after having seen them saved, the children born, and then starting school at Hope House. Several new staff have been appointed at Hope House school and farm.

Hong Kong. It has been a year since the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, was first reported in Wuhan, China, and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March 2020. Hong Kong has kept its borders closed to almost all travel, with the result that we have been grounded. The virus has now infected almost a 100 million people worldwide. We earnestly pray that the recent rollout of vaccines will start to make a difference in all countries, in the months ahead. The Hong Kong Government, Department of Health, has proposed a programme of vaccinations to commence in February. The Hong Kong Government has been very proactive in its handling of Covid-19 and has done an exemplary job in its effort to curtail the spread of the virus locally. Politically the news is not so good, with the recent arrest of 53 pro-democracy legislators and supporters under the New Security Law.  Pray for peace and calm in Hong Kong.     

Chinese New Year is 12th-14th February, the year of the Ox, with all that it will bring! The shops are already selling festive food and homes must have a spring clean before the New Year! According to Chinese tradition the year of the Ox represents incredible physical, mental, and emotional strength and stamina. The Ox’s accomplishments in ploughing and other hard work are the result of its sheer determination! No wonder the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, in the Year of the OX! Likewise, we too need stamina and increased determination to fulfil the Lord’s command to go and preach, teach, and make disciples while it is day, for the night is coming when no one will be able to work.

We really appreciate your response to our urgent appeal for funding and ongoing prayer. The funds sent into SRM during the past months have been extremely encouraging and have helped to sustain His work in Cambodia and Myanmar. Funds have arrived just at the right time and all staff, missionaries, evangelists and projects have been fully supported to the present time. We are confident that ongoing needs will be met, as promised in Philippians 4:19 “ But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”